It’s the first official week of the Minimalist Foodie Challenge and my first posted recipe of the challenge – Spinach and Onion Quiche! We’re plugging along over here…some peaks, some valleys, and some general makin’ it work. I’ll post a full recap over the weekend, along with next week’s recipes.
Speaking of making it work, I’m typing this blog post with one hand as my other is busy holding a very cranky, but snuggly, little babe who is exhausted but considers napping optional. I had intended to post this spinach and onion quiche recipe at least 8 hours ago, but he clearly had other plans for me today. In addition to listening to the Hamilton cast recording on repeat, exclaiming “Are you a baby boo-boo bear? You ARE!” 6348 times a day, and microwaving the same cup of coffee every 30 minutes, doing things with one hand at half the speed is basically my life. I am a one-handed wonder.
As I listen to Asher squawk and feel his tiny nails dig into my arm, I am starting to consider that my child might actually be a pterodactyl. He’s got razor sharp talons, is clearly a carnivore based on the amount of flesh he chews (mine, not his), and screeches all day long. I just googled “what sound does a pterodactyl make” and found this video. Suspicions confirmed. He could also be part-vampire based on his nighttime sleeping habits, but I’m placing my bets on extinct flying dinosaur.
Also in the vein of making it work (see what there? eh?), quiches are a fantastic dish for taking odds and ends you might have trashed and transforming them into a hearty, nutritious meal. Plus I can get at least one dinner and two lunches from a single quiche, so it gets a big fact check next to the “stretch the budget” box. In this case, we are making one from fresh veggies, but knowing you can chuck just about any cooked vegetable into some eggs and turn it into a meal will come in handy eventually.
Spinach and Onion Quiche Recipe Notes
I’m using caramelized onions here, but you can just sauté them until they’re browned around the edges to cut down the cooking time. The result won’t be as subtly sweet but will still be super delicious.
DO take the time to precook the spinach. Fresh spinach has a very high water content, which you steam off during the sauté process. A soggy quiche is a sad quiche.
I made this pastry crust with 100% whole wheat flour, and the result is a slightly chewier texture with a mild nutty flavor. You can substitute half white flour or go entirely white, but if you do, reduce the butter to 8 tbsp (half a stick). These also freeze beautifully, so
if since you are perpetually short on time, make a few extra, wrap the dough in individual portions in plastic wrap, and stick ’em in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use, thaw in the fridge in the morning. They’ll keep well frozen for 4-6 weeks.
Vegetable substitutions here are endless. Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes, kale and chard (really, any dark leafy green) are all in season and would shine. Experiment with red onions instead of sweet yellow. I like harder cheeses for quiche, as they prevent the crust from getting a bit gummy. If you go the route of cheddar, try a sharp variety. Emmental and Gruyere are also popular options.
Spinach and Onion Quiche
- 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 tbsp cold butter cut into chunks
- ice water
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large sweet onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 8 oz fresh spinach chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- sea salt to taste
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a food processor, add the flour and salt and pulse once or twice to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse until the ingredients are just mixed, but coarse; it will resemble cornmeal.
With the blade running, add about 1/4 cup of ice water, and then water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just comes together into a ball (or two, as mine did). It will be slightly sticky.
Dust a clean surface with flour and dump the dough onto the flour. Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled through, about 30 minutes, or as long as 3 days.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the caramelized onions. Put a skillet over medium heat. Add the avocado oil and heating until shimmering, then add the butter and heat until melted. Add the onions, thyme, and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until the onions are brown throughout and caramelized, 25-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the pastry dough to 1/4" thickness with a circumference rougher 3" wider than your pie plate. Place the dough, centered, over the pie plate and then fold the edges in towards the center of the dish, making the side double the thickness of the bottom. Smooth our the sides and the seams, but don't overhandle the dough. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom all over. Parbake the crust for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, sauté the spinach. Transfer the caramelized onions to a small bowl and then use the leftover fat (you only need a tiny amount) to gently sauté the spinach until soft and most of the moisture has steamed, about 8 minutes.
Once the crust is finished parbaking, lower the oven temperature to 350 and prepare the quiche. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan into the crust. Layer the caramelized onions on top of the cheese, and the sprinkle another 1/4 cup on top of the onions. In the bowl you used for the onions, gently beat the eggs with the half and, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add extra salt because I salted both the onions and the spinach, and used 1/2 tsp pepper). Fold in the cooked spinach.
Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust on top of the cheese and onion layers. Don't mix.
Bake until the eggs are solid, but still a little jiggly in the center, 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the depth of your pie plate. My spinach and onion quiche took 50 minutes, as it's a fairly deep dish. Allow to cool 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.